Renee Davis '09

In 2002 I graduated from Milwaukee Area Technical College with my Associates in Supervision. After graduating from MATC I enrolled at Milwaukee School of Engineering. I was a full-time student, worked full-time as the Network Engineering Director for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, owned a home, and was raising two children on my own. I had a very tough schedule but my children were in their teens and were helpful and supportive.

In July of 2006 the newspaper business declined drastically which led to my department being outsourced and 60 of us lost our jobs. Here I was 45 years old, with a mortgage, and two children to support. I immediately started sending out resumes and trying to find a new job. During this process I learned that the minimum requirement for most of the positions I was applying for was a Bachelor's degree.

In October of 2006 I was offered a position as the IT Director for a radiology facility in Ocala, Florida. I sold the house, packed up the family, and relocated. Even though I moved away from Wisconsin, I still wanted to pursue my degree from a Wisconsin school. My girlfriend was attending Lakeland and told me about their online program. I called student services and was immediately connected with Cindy Thill. Soon after I was enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts online program. The classes were very organized and the instructors were responsive, held excellent discussion sessions, and the interaction with other students was a lot of fun. I wasn't sure at first how difficult an online program would be but I soon found out it fit my schedule and lifestyle.

In December of 2007 my family suffered a terrible tragedy. My 18-year-old son was involved in a fatal car crash. There are no words to describe the devastation and sadness that befell my family. At that point I was convinced I was giving up school and no longer wanted to pursue any of my goals. After several months my daughters convinced me I needed to finish because my son always supported me and was so proud. With their support I re-enrolled in the Bachelor's program. Months later I finished and received my degree. When the degree came in the mail I cried so hard because I knew he would be so very proud.

Immediately following my graduation I enrolled in Lakeland's Master of Arts program with a concentration in health care administration. My instructors were so supportive and helpful and the classes were even more interactive. Through all of my pain and struggles I completed the Master's program and graduated in 2009.

Today I am the Chief Information Officer for Life Management Center of NW Florida. We are a behavioral health care facility that serves six counties in Northwest Florida. I have learned so much from my studies at Lakeland and owe my success to all of the instructors, the advisers, and my supportive family. The instructor that sticks out the most to me is Ms. Barbara Dodge. She helped me so much both educationally and emotionally. She is a rock and is one of the most intelligent and strongest women I have ever met.

Today I am proud of my accomplishments but am especially proud of holding a Master's degree from Lakeland College. I have exceeded my goals and Lakeland helped me do that. I know my son is looking down on me and is smiling.

Thank you Lakeland College.



Ms. Renee Davis

Lakeland Graduate of Classes 2007 and 2009


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